What is a Makey Makey?

Makey Makey is…

A microcontroller that can turn anything with conductive properties into a keyboard. To start, the Makey Makey is plugged into a computer via USB port and the computer sees it as a keyboard. You then connect conductive objects, like foil or fruit, to the Makey Makey by using alligator clips. The circuit is complete when you touch both the objects and the Makey Makey, sending the keystrokes to the computer. You can use these keystrokes just as you would a keyboard to control things on the screen and play the piano or a fun game.

How Does the Makey Makey Work?

The Makey Makey is a microcontroller that can turn anything with conductive properties into a keyboard. To start, the Makey Makey is plugged into a computer via USB port and the computer sees it as a keyboard. You then connect conductive objects, like foil or fruit, to the Makey Makey by using alligator clips. The circuit is complete when you touch both the objects and the Makey Makey, sending the keystrokes to the computer.  You can use these keystrokes just as you would a keyboard to control things on the screen and play the piano or a fun game.

Why Should I Use a Makey Makey With Youth?

It is a great introduction to circuits and conductivity for youth of all ages. Makey Makey allows students to explore different ways to complete the circuit using conductors like aluminum foil, graphite from a pencil, bananas, and more! Each youth ignites their inner engineer by testing whether different materials can carry an electrical current.

Makey Makey is a great tool that can be used across disciplines too! For example, by using the Makey Makey and Scratch, youth can learn the name of the different planets, understand the water cycle, or practice a foreign language by creating an interactive drawing that speaks the object’s name!

How Do I Get Started?

Since the Digital Harbor Foundation is an official Makey Makey partner, we will host our first Makey Makey Workshop on December 2nd from 10am-5pm to show you how to use the Makey Makey with your youth. In the workshop, you will receive your very own Makey Makey and learn new and interesting ways to incorporate it with lessons or activities. At times, you will forget you are learning and it will feel like playful exploration. Your youth will feel the same way!

Register